Purdue vs. UConn player prop: Fade Donovan Clingan in national championship

It might not be Patrick Ewing vs. Hakeem Olajuwon (1984) or even Larry Johnson vs. Christian Laettner (1990), but the frontcourt matchup in Monday night’s National Championship game is highly anticipated nonetheless.

Purdue’s Zach Edey faces Connecticut’s Donovan Clingan with the national title on the line.

The former has been on NBA radars since he walked onto the Boilermakers’ campus four years ago, but the latter has turned into a star in his own right during the NCAA Tournament.

Can Clingan keep it rolling against Purdue and Edey on Monday night?

The UConn big man is the focus of a player prop I have on my national championship betting card.

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Purdue +7.5 (-115) +250 o145.5 (-110)
UConn -7.5 (-105) -300 u145.5 (-110)
Odds via BetMGM

Purdue vs. Connecticut player prop

Donovan Clingan under 21.5 points + rebounds

During this NCAA Tournament run, the Huskies’ 7-foot-2 center has elevated his play to new heights, averaging 16.2 points and nine rebounds per game on 64.8 percent shooting from the field.

He’s blossomed into a superstar, all while avoiding any real foul trouble. But that’s exactly where this prop bet hinges — foul trouble and, by association, minutes.

The 7-4 Edey is an elite, historically good foul-drawer. According to KenPom, he draws more than 10 fouls per game, which is tops in the entire nation. 

Then there’s Clingan’s performances this season against other elite bigs. It started in November when he faced Indiana’s Kel’el Ware (Third-Team All-Big Ten). Despite playing 30 minutes, Clingan finished the game with just seven points and five rebounds.

Then, UConn took on Kansas and Hunter Dickinson (First-Team All-Big 12). Clingan performed slightly better, scoring eight points and collecting seven rebounds.

How Donovan Clingan guards Zac Edey could determine Monday's game.
How Donovan Clingan guards Zac Edey could determine Monday’s game. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Four days later, in the Jimmy V Classic against North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (Second-Team All-ACC), he was once again a non-factor (eight points, four rebounds). And in his two battles against fellow seven-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner of Creighton, he averaged nine points and six rebounds. 

Clingan is undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his career, but this is the absolute peak of his value. As a result, his points + rebounds prop total is inflated in my estimation.

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With a decent sample against other elite bigs, he averaged just 8.2 points and 5.6 rebounds across five games, far below the total being offered in the market Monday night. 

Purdue, as a team, is also elite on the glass. The Boilermakers gobble up offensive rebounds at the third-highest rate in the country and collect 27 defensive boards per game (ninth). St. John’s was similarly dominant on the offensive glass and held Clingan to 10 boards in their two meetings. 

It might seem risky, but fading the hot hand is the right choice in this game because all of the comps to Purdue, and Edey in particular, were successful in limiting Clingan’s impact. 

Pick: Donovan Clingan under 21.5 points + rebounds (-115, DraftKings)


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